Tuesday, October 13, 2009


My name is Natalie, aka magnetbabe. Once upon a time I used to blog here, and at times quite regularly. While I have tried to gradually lower expectations for regular updates, I have become aware that my lack of posting has made some of you worried, frustrated, or even confused. I apologize for that and while I can always try to do better, that doesn’t always mean I will do better. The biggest impediment to my regular updates is that fact that I absolutely cannot blog at work. I don’t think it’s a big secret where I work, or for whom, but it has been made clear to us that social networking via blogger, twitter, facebook, etc. is forbidden on government time. It is not forbidden to have a blog or have a facebook page (though it is strongly encouraged that all privacy settings be enabled) but suspicious traffic to those sites using government computers is monitored. While I totally understand where they are coming from with this (in theory none of us should be blogging at work and taxpayers would be understandably upset to see federal employees spending their days taking facebook quizzes) it does hamper my online activities considerably. I will justify this statement by saying that research in general is laden with downtime. You heat something up, cool something down, let something react, press a button that cycles and entire experiment and all these things involve waiting. This isn’t news to any of us in science which is why internet activity is considered just part of the routine. But as I have learned over the past four and a half weeks, public service does require some sacrifices and from what I have experienced in my short time here, those sacrifices are well worth the rewards of a challenging, meaningful career.

So. Why don’t I just write up a blog post when I get home? Or on the weekend? Welll…. Easier said than done. By evening I am usually exhausted from working and preparing dinner and the last thing I want to do is get back on the computer after hours of reading papers online or staring at data. Plus, how can Deano and I catch up on our days when one of us is glued to the computer? So that leaves the weekend. Have I mentioned that Washingon DC is a totally over stimulating place to live? Free museums, festivals, demonstrations, ceremonies, two baseball teams, and excellent food combine to make my weekends even more tiring than my work weeks. We’ll see how things go in the few weeks. Baseball season is effectively over – if I can’t see a team in person (like the Nats or the O’s) or root for them in good conscience (like the Twins) it might as well be over. And I could just like to say that I was incredibly proud of the Twins winning the division, and then horribly, terrifically embarrassed by their performance against the Yankees. My intramural physics department softball team from USF could have scored more runs than that. And the weather should be cooling down a bit. We only have a few more weekends to do the outdoor things downtown that we really want to do, most notably going on the Monuments by Moonlight trolley tour.

Dean started his new job this week. He is working for a large car insurance company outside of Baltimore. He seems to like it, it is a position that he had held in Tampa for a different company. Even though he complains about the actual duties, he excels at it and of course everyone loves him. I have a feeling he won’t be so adamant about packing our weekend full of activities once he has a few 40 hour week weeks under his belt. But maybe that’s just the cynic in me.

Don’t get me wrong, I have plenty to say. I would like to sit down and write a post about what my actual job is, despite the fact that the description would probably put half of you to sleep. And the ever-present rant on the level of political discourse occurring in our society is always front and center in my mind. I definitely want to post some pictures. Our new “grown up” jobs have given us some financial freedom to replace our couch, loveseat and coffee table with a new set a few weeks ago. I ordered a TV stand this week that I’m very excited about, and Dean’s talking about that big flat screen he’s been dreaming about since Florida. I keep saying once it all comes together, then I’ll send pictures. Embarrassingly, we still have quite a few boxes sitting around.

But I miss you guys. I knew most of you aren’t posting as often as before. Is life just busier or has blogging run its natural course? I hope not. I don’t find tweets or facebook status updates nearly as informative, or frankly, as intimate. But that’s just me. I feel like it’s been 18 months since I’ve had a real routine where I felt comfortable and that I had time for everything I want to do. Even though I miss them dearly I couldn’t ever imagine caring for a colony and doing TNR and fostering on top of what I’m doing now, which makes me a little sad because I had hoped to volunteer. I wanted to join a reading group, but I’ve only read 100 pages since the move. But the upside is that my days are filled with more satisfying business than before and my mental and physical health in general is strong. Anyway, I hope you all don’t give up on me. I’m still around, just more sporadically. For now.


Jeni said...

Just wondering if, during the waiting periods or downtime, could you perhaps write a post (or the bulk of one, or even just an outline) as a Word or Notepad document, then, either save it to a CD or e-mail it to your home computer and then, either finish it out at home or, if it is a completed item, copy and paste it to your blog and publish it? Or, is everything you touch, computer related, monitored?
And your description of the D.C. area is so on target -lots and lots and LOTS of really interesting things to do there and within fairly close radius to the area too. Enjoy it as much as you can, while you can do that!

Jackie said...

I'm so glad to hear you settling in, and happy there!

I totally understand the blogging slow down! (as you can probably see from my blog, I used to post a minimum of 3 times a week, now I'm lucky for once a week, if that!) But like you, I still like a blog, I just can't seem to find the time (or sometimes inspiration) to write regularly.

Take your time, enjoy your surroundings, and I look forward to hearing/seeing all about it!

Hot4Teacha said...

I'll take sporadic magnetbabe over none at all! I figured you were just slammed - why wouldn't you be? New job, new home, new town, etc. I'm glad things are going so well - and if you don't blog as much, so be it - that just means you're out doing something fun or satisfying in some way, which is great!!

fermicat said...

I hear ya. I am not on Facebook or Twitter. Just have other things going on and not much time for blogging or other computer related things. It has been two months since my vacation and I have only gotten two days' worth of photos cleaned up and posted to Flickr.

Fall is a great time for going out and LIVING. I don't blame any of us for doing just that. There is plenty of time in the dead of winter to get back on the internet.

Dr Jenn said...

Have your Life Nat... we all are experiencing ours (in some fashion or another). I agree about blogging being the intimate of the social networking. We read each others stories... sometimes email each other... sometimes call each other... but we don't get that friendly on other social networking sites.

I miss being able to get online on a regular basis and make my rounds. I have had to add people to my blog roll just to be able to read updates!

You could surprise us and sneak a cat blog in here once n awhile... c'mon, you know you want to !

dr sardonicus said...

I could cut and paste much of what you just wrote to my blog. My blogging activities began as a way to kill time at work (graveyard shift is boring), but when the lead operator on the shift retired, that made me the lead operator, and I have a lot more responsibility now than I had before. I don't get to sit down at the computer there for much more than 15 minutes at a time anymore, and that's not enough time for me to blog.

At home, me and Jenn and the kids are still getting used to each others' rhythms, and that often makes finding time to write at home difficult.

Things will get less hectic for you someday, until then, write when you can.

Your intramural physics department softball team from USF could have scored more runs than the Twins, but I bet the Cardinals couldn't...

dr sardonicus said...

...how can Deano and I catch up on our days when one of us is glued to the computer?

Well, you could both be glued to the computer! Look at the timestamps on mine and Jenn's last posts!

Dianne said...

I never worry about you because your're so damn smart and resilient

I do miss ya but I never get frustrated
I just check now and then and I'm wonderfully delighted when there's a new post

Yay!!!! for Deano and his new job

and kisses to the kitties

Natalie said...

That's sort of what I did with this post. But of course I can't post replies until I get home... I typed it up and emailed it to myself. We are warned that anything over email is subject to scrutiny, which is fine. I'm not going to be bashing my new job because I love. Plus it just isn't my style. But I also can't check other people's blogs which sometimes is more fun. ;)

Thanks for your support as always Jackie! And thanks for not giving up on me, you've been stopping by I think the longest...

Haha, you can think of it that way. You know I can still email. Just nothing you wouldn't want Barack to read. (I should be so lucky, right?)

I've noticed you've been doing a lot of linky/cat blogging posts lately! I should really do that too. But when I sit down to blog, I want to write. But I should get some kitty pics up. And some pictures of the amazing fall colors we're getting here!

dr. jenn,
Haha, I know I should. But I haven't taken one kitty picture since we landed! I'm loving your cat blogs though. Your furry family is growing.

dr. s,
You two crack me up! I love that you did that. Unfortunately we are still a one-computer family. And what were you doing up at 2:00 am anyway?

hi di!
I'm so behind on your posts it's embarrassing. I try to catch up each time I visit. But for awhile I've just been content to scroll down and see the pictures of Hope. Give her and Mi and Si hugs and kisses for me.

Natalie said...

PS - I'm surprised and amazed by how quickly you all commented! I didn't expect that all of you checked back every day. I have awesome readers. Either that or you all need to get lives. LOL just kidding!

Anonymous said...

Glad you're back! Ah yes, type a blog, save it to a memory stick, in the purse and away you go. Does Dean blog? Perhaps he could fill in by blogging one week and you the next. Now that could be an interesting perspective for your readers. Glad he found a job and all's going well.

Dr Jenn said...

LMAO I did not know we were both on your blog commenting at the same time. HOW FUNNY.

I read the "how can Deano and I catch up on our days when one of us is glued to the computer?" out loud to Doc to ummmm.... get a point across... see it missed it's target.

fermicat said...

Just checking in with you. What up?